Plan in the works to decrease false alarms

By on February 8, 2012

By: MICHELLE REIFF Review Staff mreiff.eph@lnpnews.com, Staff Writer

East Cocalico Township is looking into a solution for the recent abundance of false burglar alarms sounding within short periods of time.

At the Feb. 1 board of supervisors meeting Mark Hiester presented a request from Harvey Achey, Reamstown Fire Company chief, to consider an ordinance for non-residential users that will provide a fine for repetitious false alarms.

"He had three (go off) at the same location within a 24-hours period. Two of them were late at night; it affects his manpower," Hiester said, suggesting that an extensive amount of time is put into each incident.

Hiester noted that in the past what the township has typically done is ask the violator to have his/her alarm company come out and look at the system to determine what caused it to go off.

"If the alarm isn’t their fault..say a power surge or something, they can appeal to the board to not pay a fine," said Hiester.

East Cocalico Township Police Chief George Beever mentioned that there is an existing alarm ordinance in the township that goes back to about 1991 which may provide a starting point with which to work.

"The ordinance is really kind of ambiguous," he said. "It doesn’t say burglar alarm or fire alarm. It just says alarm."

Beever explained that the ordinance was created as the result of an uptake in both residential and commercial burglar alarms . It specifically states that the chief of police shall be the person who administers it.

Beever, Hiester and supervisor chairman Douglas Mackley all agreed that this is a legitimate problem. They feel there are some components of the ordinance already in place that could possibly be "tweaked" rather then enacting a new one.

"For example," said Mackley, "a lot of businesses are required to have sprinkler systems. If the alarm is hooked up to that and the pressure drops…the alarm goes off. And that might not be their problem."

Beever and Hiester plan to meet to talk about the issue and then run it past their solicitor.

Also at the meeting, the warm, spring-like temperatures last week provided a suitable environment for discussion of whether the Reamstown Pool should be the location of a divisional swim meet this summer.

Pam Leh and Lauren Caramenico, representatives from the East Cocalico Swim Team, were present to request permission to use the pool and surrounding pool/park area beginning Friday night, July 20 for set-up and then Saturday all day for the meet.

The question arose about how much electric would be needed for three divisions involved, comprising about eight teams and 1,800 people coming and going throughout the day. Leh suggested possibly bringing in generators.

"A couple years ago we kept tripping the circuits when we would run a swim meet," she said, adding that the last time they did this the electricity was upgraded.

Supervisor vice chairman Alan Fry was concerned about the event organizers bringing in generators for safety reasons. He suggested finding out approximate usage needed, as the electricity available in the pavilion may be enough.

"If you bring generators in there we don’t know if they’re certified or not," he said. "If it rains and someone gets electrocuted the township is liable. Being a swimming pool in a public place, we have to be very careful no one gets hurt."

Leh agreed to go back to the safety committee and have them coordinate with those running the snack bar, where most of the electric will be needed to make sure the supply will be ample.

Another issue brought up when discussing the approval of the swim meet was whether to drain the baby pool in order to keep people away from it. It was decided that since the pool will be staffed with a lifeguard regardless, it would be easier and just as safe to rope it off instead of draining.

Supervisors approved the holding of the meet at Reamstown Pool. They assured that it will be put on the schedule for which will be posted for pool members at the beginning of the season.

"What happens is if we don’t is that there are those certain number of people that wil want a discount," said Mackley. "If we warn them ahead of time they will know."

In other business:

? Time extensions were approved for several projects, including: Stony Run Fields, extended to May 3; WJ Crossroads, May 10; and Amelia’s Grocery Outlet on Muddy Creek Road, May 22.

? Mowing quotes will be put out this year, which will be different from the past since the price has typically been below the $18,500 threshold set by the state. Supervisors decided the same area will be mowed as last year.

? The organizers of a marathon which will be starting at Stoudt’s Brewing Company April 21 have requested police support for the event. They are prepared to cover the costs, so as not to be a financial burden on the township. The supervisors decided that a clearer map will be needed before providing a cost estimate.

? The township approved the purchase of fax software for the office copier in order to eliminate one piece of equipment, the fax machine, and improve operations. The cost will be $800 and will take an hour to install.

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